By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The City of Tulsa is improving some of its parks, despite a shortage of money to keep them running.
The Tulsa Parks Department opened a water playground at Maxwell Park last week, even though the community center next to it remains closed for lack of money.
"We think it's a good addition to the community and we hope people will take pride in their community by taking care of it as well," Michele Orndorff said.
The surge of construction, especially in water playgrounds replacing pools, magnifies the irony of a city budget that for now has plenty of money to build things but less to keep them running.
"It is confusing that here no one is getting raises, people are being let go, yet all these wonderful projects are coming along," said Bob Hendrick, Tulsa Parks Department.
Bob Hendrick says $13 million worth of work is underway this year.
"By the end of the year, four water parks, we'll have a brand new skate park in Mohawk, a new soccer complex in Mohawk, we've refurbished many playgrounds and painted several community centers," Hendrick said.
The construction of the water playgrounds is the most visible new feature at the parks, but there are smaller behind the scene improvements and some big ones out at the zoo.
The zoo, which is part of the parks budget, will have a major renovation of one building and a new exhibit for the sea lions.
Not far away the parks department built a short road and new parking lot for a skate park. The park itself is being built with donated money.
Water parks are under construction at Chamberlain Park and at Owen Park. Soon Whiteside Park will get one too, where just last week, volunteers started mowing because the city doesn't have the money to pay for it. It was city employees who volunteered to mow the park. And private donations paid for the pool to be open this summer.